COMPUTERS GIFT: Rebecca Young, RED Inc work and training manager Gisela Hartke, and PowerMax Computers co-managing director Amelia Ahern with two of the donated iMacs.
COMPUTERS GIFT: Rebecca Young, RED Inc work and training manager Gisela Hartke, and PowerMax Computers co-managing director Amelia Ahern with two of the donated iMacs. Marnie Johnston

iMpressive donation to disability service RED Inc

WE LIVE in an increasingly digital world, and now one group of locals will have the chance to expand and enhance their technical skills.

PowerMax Computers Lismore has donated seven iMac computers to disability service RED Inc to help members with a new E-Space venture.

The idea behind E-Space began a while ago when the RED Inc team decided it would be a good idea to be able to help members who wanted to extend their computer skills and other digital passions, like gaming, coding and multimedia, said RED Inc’s work and training manager Gisela Hartke and CEO Marie Gale.

Thanks to the Northern Rivers Social Development Council, RED Inc was able to make use of the NRSDC’s computer clubhouse once a week to help members interested in getting together for some digital time.

However, the level of interest was overwhelming, and the RED Inc team quickly realised it had a far bigger demand than possible for one slot a week.

Since their Pop-Up RED op-shop next door to their Magellan St office closed down in December, the RED Inc team had a space available, and so they have been transforming it into an E-Space.

“We had an empty shell, now we needed equipment – and that’s not cheap,” Ms Hartke said.

It was then that RED Inc’s Jonathon Smith approached PowerMax for help sourcing computers.

PowerMax have had a program Mac Gift in place for several years now, in which individuals and organisations can donate older macs to the business, who then erase them, fix them up and restore them, before donating them to non-profit organisations like RED Inc, and to the refugee settlement service.

“It’s all part of our engagement with our community,” said Amelia Ahern, co-managing director of PowerMax.

“And there’s more waste than I’m comfortable (with) in our world, so this is a way of re-purposing these unused computers.”

Luckily for RED Inc, PowerMax had just had a handful of old iMacs donated to them through the Mac Gift scheme, and were able to donate seven to the not-for-profit organisation.

“(Jonathon) was all excited because (he thought) he was going to get one computer, and then he came back with seven,” Ms Gale said.

“He was beaming, we all were. We’re very grateful.”

Ms Gale said there was a real opportunity for people to get engaged in so many computer-based facets – from coding, to app development, gaming and media – but they needed mentoring to extend their skill set in those areas.

Now E-Space will help them do just that.

The space will also provide an opportunity for interested people to get together and explore their passions, rather than doing so in isolation.

“Hopefully this will be the path by which many young people will be able to find their feet and find employment,” Ms Gale said.

In addition to the iMac computers, E-Space will also feature a driving simulator, a green screen for multimedia creation, and will also aid in tutorial support for those RED Inc participants who are studying TAFE courses and other studies.

RED Inc is also searching for community members with digital expertise who may want to come on board as a mentor at the E-Space.